Friday, October 7, 2011

AMSR-E failure and fallout

Update 17 October: The meeting last Tuesday gives little hope.  There will definitely be no data for weeks.  I don't know what prevents a conclusion of never.
original:
AMSR-E has failed and is probably permanently out of commission.  For most of you, that's merely news.  Perhaps a source of amusement and interest is now gone.  For me, since I use(d) it in my day job, AMSR-E failing means some real work.  Most of that work was already planned, but now it needs to be done more speedily.

As I've often said here, and even more often in 3d, data are messy and ugly.  One sort of ugliness is that instruments do not last forever.  When (not if) they fail, you have to turn to a different instrument.  Ideally, you already have the replacement in hand and have been running it regularly and intercomparing its results with your current main system and ensured that there are no differences other than those you wanted -- like better resolution on the new instrument.  The present situation is not ideal, so, as we usually do in science, I'm making the best of it that I can.  And making notes for what to do when I have a chance to rework the immediate fixes.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Climate change science history

A question at the question place regarded this history of climate change science.  See that link for the full question.  Here's my response, which over-ran the blog comment length limit there.

On the historical link side, the best single source is Spencer Weart's _The Discovery of Global Warming_ http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.htm  I think he under-rates the significance of G. S. Callendar's work in the 1930s-50s, but that's my take and I haven't yet written it up formally.  It's an idea I've had, to do so.  Unfortunately, a lot of Weart's work will probably pass your students' level.  But you should be fine with it yourself and translate suitably to your students.

A different matter for your middle schoolers is the time scale of the history.  Perhaps combine this with a project to collect family history?

I'll take your students as being about 11. Let's go with 30 years per generation, which is, at least, fairly accurate for my family.  That means your kids born in about 2000, parents about 1970, grandparents in 1940, great-grandparents in 1910, great-great grandparents in 1880, great-great-great grandparents (g3 grandparents) in 1850, and g4 grandparents in 1820.

The history is:

Monday, October 3, 2011

Happy Huskies

Not a post about the U. Washington, Seattle teams, who I'm sure do fine.  Instead Alaskan Huskies I visited on my vacation:



This was at the Chena River Village, which I'll be talking more about later.  The huskies are, of course, adorable in their own way.  That's sufficient, of course, but there's also some science involved.

These are Alaskan Huskies, of course.  The major distinction between Alaskan and Siberian, to borrow a description from an Alaskan musher (not the one above with her lead dog) is that the Siberians are 'Disney Dogs' -- selected for prettyness.  There might be some regional bias involved.